Konigsberg, now Kaliningrad,Russia

HISTORY OF CITY (PART I)

Konigsberg, now the well-known city of Kaliningrad, is an enclave washed by the cold and noisy Baltic sea. The city’s history is majestic and multi — faceted, Dating back more than 700 years-seven centuries of rapid growth, rapid seizures and frequent changes of heads of government. The westernmost city in Russia is shrouded in ancient legends and surrounded by interesting historical sights.

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It was founded on September 1, 1255. The beginning of the modern city was a castle built on the site of the Prussian settlement of Twangste in the lower reaches of the Pregel river. The founders are considered to be the Grand master of the Teutonic order Poppo von Osterna and the king of the Czech Republic Przemysl Otakar II. Twangste was besieged by the knights, but after the arrival of help from the king of Bohemia, the settlement fell. The first building was made of wood, and in 1257 the construction of brick walls began.

Przemysl Otakar II
Przemysl Otakar II

The castle was named Konigsberg, and it was besieged three times (in 1260, 1263, and 1273) by Prussian tribes, but it survived. In the following years, German colonists began to arrive to develop Russian lands. The indigenous people were assimilated and by the 16th century only 20% of the total population remained.

On February 28, 1286, the settlement near the castle walls, which bears the same name, was granted city rights. Other localities were growing rapidly around them. In 1300, another city was named Lebenicht, where the first printing house was opened in 1523, and the first book was printed in 1524. From an administrative point of view, both cities were independent, but in fact they formed a single whole. The combined cities were named Konigsberg, and the first and oldest part of it was renamed Altstadt (“old town”).

The third settlement to receive official status was Kneiphof, and it also formed part of Konigsberg. In 1466, as a result of the thirteen years ‘ war, the capital of the Teutonic order was moved from Marienburg to königsberg. In 1525, the theocratic state became known as the Duchy of Prussia, and Grand master Albrecht declared himself a Duke. Since the XVI century, the city has become a cultural center, where important figures lived and the first books in the Lithuanian language were published.

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In 1660, the publication of its own newspaper began, and copies of it were regularly sent to Russia to compile reviews intended for the Boyar Duma and Tsar Alexey Mikhailovich. Geographically unified, but consisting of administratively independent districts, the city existed until 1724, then the official unification of the three cities, their surrounding suburbs, villages and the castle took place. The name remained the same-Konigsberg. During the seven years ‘ war, the city was captured by Russia and from 1758 to 1762 was part of it. In 1762, it was returned to Prussia under the terms of the St. Petersburg peace Treaty concluded with the Russian Emperor Peter III. In the 19th century, Koenigsberg grew rapidly and was modernized, and countless ravelins, bastions, and defensive ramparts were built (many of the buildings are still preserved).

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In 1857, a railway appeared in Konigsberg, and in 1862 a railway connection with Russia was laid. In may 1881, a new type of transport appeared — the Conca (horse-drawn city railway), and exactly 14 years later (in 1895) — the first trams. In 1901, electrification of public transport began. In 1919, the first airport in Germany and one of the first in the world — Devau-was built and put into operation. Regular flights Konigsberg-Riga-Moscow were organized in 1922. In the XX century, the city expanded significantly: railway stations, residential buildings, and commercial buildings were built. Hans Hopp and Friedrich Heitmann made the greatest contribution to the city’s architecture. A large place was given to monuments and sculptures, they were created by both graduates and teachers of the Konigsberg Academy of arts. At the same time, research and reconstruction were carried out in the old castle. In August 1944, during the bombing by the British, the city was severely destroyed and the entire old center of Konigsberg was destroyed. In the same year, it was stormed by Soviet soldiers.

Assault and capture in 1945

the Siege of the city began in December 1944, and assault detachments were sent on April 5, 1945. on April 10, a flag was raised over the Der don tower (the modern Amber Museum), marking the end of German rule. During the fierce fighting, both sides suffered losses of 50 thousand people.

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In the next part: modern Konigsberg-Kaliningrad and amazing places in city

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Hello everyone! My blog about my city Kaliningrad with big history background.

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